PNB fraud: Nirav Modi will come back to India, says lawyer. But, conditions apply
Billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi who is under the scanner of top investigating agencies of the country for his involvement in the multi-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam will come back to India, but only if the investigation of the Rs 11,400 crore fraud is 'fair', his lawyer Vijay Aggarwal said today.
"He (Nirav) has doubts on the investigations. Wrong arrests have been made. Accused Nirav Modi will come back to India only if the investigation will be fair," Vijay Aggarwal, lawyer for Nirav Modi, said.
"Media trial of the matter is happening now. Nirav Modi is not in India," Aggarwal said, refusing to add further details of Modi.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Tuesday arrested Vipul Ambani, president (finance) of Nirav Modi's Firestar Diamond, in relation to the multi-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam.
The arrest of Vipul Ambani, nephew of Reliance Industries founder late Dhirubhai Ambani and relative of Mukesh and Anil Ambani, is the first high-profile arrest by the CBI in the Rs 11,400 crore PNB scam.
CBI, however, has not said whether the two Ambani brothers or their companies are linked to the alleged fraud.
On Tuesday, CBI also arrested Rajesh Jindal, General Manager-rank officer of PNB who was the PNB Brady House, Mumbai, branch head from August 2009 to May 2011.
It was during his tenure that the practice of issuance of LoUs without sanctioned limits to Nirav Modi group firms had started. He currently the GM Credit of PNB Head Office in New Delhi.
Vipul Ambani, who was being questioned since Sunday, was arrested after the agency found him 'non-cooperative' in taking forward the investigation, officials said.
Ambani was arrested with four other senior executives of Modi's and his uncle Mehul Choksi's companies in connection with the two FIRs registered by the CBI.
TOP DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RS 11,400 CRORE FRAUD:
- Other arrests along with Vipul Ambani were that of Executive Assistant Kavita Mankikar, Senior Executive Arjun Patil, CF0 of Nakshatra and Gitanjali Group Kapil Khandelwal and Niten Shahi, manager of the Gitanjali group.
- Ambani, Mankikar and Patil were arrested in connection with the first FIR, while Khandelwal and Shahi were taken into custody in the second that was registered against Choksi and his group companies.
- Gitanjali Gems, the jewellery retailer led by Nirav Modi's uncle Mehul Choksi, on Tuesday asked its employees to take relieving letters. Nearly, 5,000 employees of the group have been given pink slips.
- The Enforcement Directorate said that assets worth Rs 10 crore were seized during searches at 13 premises linked to Modi and Choksi.
- PNB officials Bechhu Tiwari, Yashwant Joshi and Praful Sawant arrested on Monday were produced before a special court which sent them to agency's custody till March 3.
- A team 110 officials from the Income Tax Department have till now raided 20 premises linked to Gitanjali Gems promoter Choksi and firms associated with him.
- Searches were conducted in Mumbai, Pune, Surat, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and a few other cities against the 13 companies linked to Choksi and the Gitanjali Gems.
- Jeweller Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi cheated the state-run bank of Rs 11,400 crore with the involvement of a few employees of the bank, PNB has alleged.
- Modi and Choksi allegedly accessed bank guarantee in the form of 150 Letters of Undertaking (LoUs) worth Rs 6,498 crore and 143 LoUs worth Rs 4,886 crore.
- The ED has also registered two separate cases to probe money laundering allegations against Choksi and Modi.
(With inputs from PTI)